Is the SiliconDust making a big mistake with its streaming service? It might be. Why do we say that? Because in order to check out the service users must own a compatible HD HomeRun device. This could severely limit how many people take a look at the service.
The last service to be exclusive to one device in that manner was PlayStation Vue. Sony’s streaming service not only limited itself to its own devices at roll out it also limited itself to a handful of cities. It was not until it became available on multiple streaming platforms and dropped its hamstringing policy’s around the availability broadcast networks that the service began to actually compete with Sling tv and DirecTV Now.
Dangers of being too associated with one device
There are now many streaming services that offer access to cable channels. They include Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu With Live TV and Philo. None of those services require users to own a device made by the company’s that deliver the service in order to use it. All of the services are available on a number of platforms with just a monthly subscription cost. That’s seven competitors already on the market and all of them are easier to get started with unless one already owns an HD HomeRun.
It actually requires two pieces of Hardware to get started
HD Homerun devices do not hook up to a TV which means they do not have a TV interface. The devices rely on apps from other products to deliver content whether it is free OTA signals, cable TV or DVR content. HD HomeRun has apps for a number of platforms like Android TV devices, Fire TV as well as a third party app compatibility that allows it to work on Apple TV. It can also be accessed by Android devices and Windows computers. This sort of compatibility has made it very popular for people setting up a media center PC and other do it yourself streaming options. But it leans more towards the tinker type than the average person. The most popular ways to access HD HomeRun may be through Plex and Kodi, who both have companion apps for the device.
But all of this versatility, once you have the needed equipment, belies the point that users need a few hundred dollars worth of equipment to begin to utilize the tuner in the first place. The SiliconDust HD HomeRun Quatro sells for $149.00 on Amazon. An Amazon Fire TV stick sells for $39.99.
It Doesn’t Have a Roku app
The established in-home TV-connected streaming leader is Roku. And due to hardware and software conflicts, the Roku family of products does not support the HD Home Run. Roku users can of course access the HD HomeRun via Plex or Emby. But that requires users to have a PC or Nvidia Shield running a Plex server. So that means one more piece of hardware is needed to access the service. Again, for those who love to tinker with multiple products, this may not be an issue at all. But for those who are looking to get into cord cutting it would be a no go. I know many people who probably have a computer with a Plex server, an antenna and a Roku. But I run in a not exactly mainstream crowd.
Its DVR Functionality Requires A Physical Hard Drive
This is another feature that could be considered a weakness for some consumers and a strength for others. SiliconDust has a DVR service. But unlike the DVR services offered via services like Hulu with Live TV or Sling TV the SiliconDust DVR does not use the cloud. Most streaming services rely on a virtual DVR that can be accessed via the Internet. This means that your recordings will be gone if you cancel a given service. But HD HomeRun users can keep their recordings on hard drives. Again, the weakness of this is that most families do not keep a network attached storage device laying around to hook up to a multimedia home streaming kit. on the other hand for those who already invested in lots of equipment over time, the fact that users can record streaming content on a physical device that they can keep is tremendous.
SiliconDust’s Problem In A Nutshell
So the big mistake that SiliconDust might be making here is that they have released the perfect streaming service for a very specific type of user. It is the best streaming service for someone who has a computer/NAS, a compatible HD Homerun device, an antenna, and a product that is capable of supporting one of the native or third-party apps used to interact with the HD HomeRun. If someone has that sort of equipment this is exactly what they have been waiting for all this time. What does one need to access Hulu’s similarly priced live streaming service? At minimum $39.00 Fire TV Stick. Every platform outside of Android TV can support almost all of the other services. Hulu has yet to update its app to support live TV on Android TV devices.
Can SiliconDust build a subscriber base big enough to support the amount of money that it must have had to invest in order to secure the rights to stream up to 40 plus cable channels. Time will tell.